Monday, 15 December 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 64 - Jobs & Careers

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 64 - Jobs & Careers

As I was thinking about this post, I was thinking that I just need to go back through my CV (or resume). 

Working in a hospital in Malawi as an Optician
As a teenager I never did get a Saturday job but I would get paid for doing extra jobs around the house for my mum and dad. I would catch up the weeks soaps whilst doing the family's ironing on a Saturday morning and help my mum with the cleaning during the week in exchange for a late lift to school when my classes started late in the 6th form. I would also occasionally cover my brother's paper round when he had a late night or went away with friends, which enabled me to collect a little more pocket money. I did used to love the early Sunday morning paper round when the weather was nice, as you were up and out before most people and it was really refreshing and inspiring, although I would not have wanted to have gotten up that early on a regular basis and especially when it was throwing it down or blowing a gale. I was not really interested in having lots of spending money at the time, so never sought out a proper job.

When I left 6th form whilst doing my gap year and during university, I managed to get a job as a Receptionist or Optical Assistant in an Opticians in the local town. The job was great work experience for my degree as well, as I was studying Optometry with the intension of becoming an Optician. Having worked a little in an Opticians I went into my degree with a little knowledge already and was able to practice some of my clinical skills later on, which really boosted my studying.

Once, I finished university I landed a job in the same Optician's Practice when I did my pre-registration year and worked for another few years post-qualifying. It was a great place to work, with a lovely laid back family atmosphere, although at time's the pace was slow and it was quite isolating as the sole Optician as a newly qualified Optometrist, but I really enjoyed my time there. It was the place I established my career and the people whom I worked with there really stretched me and enabled me to be where I am today.

At my graduation
After a few years there I decided it was time to move onto pastures new. Myself and my husband took a miniture break to travel, before returning and moving to work in a hospital setting as an Optometrist. The work here was much more challenging and motivating, there was much more room for career progression, although the early days were tough. I am still in this work place, although I now only work part-time but love this job. I specialise in Glaucoma and Paediatric Optometry, both specialities of which I really love and it is so rewarding, even there is so much more politics in the hospital setting.

I do love my work/life balance right now, I spend 2 days at work and 3 days with my little boy. I would not have it any other way. I still want to push forward in my career over time and acknowledge that will probably be slower now I work few hours, but there are also many other things I often dream of doing. I have a real passion for fresh, home cooking -  I feel many people do not know how to cook from scratch and have a passion to show people that it is not that difficult and that food and cooking can be tasty, healthy and fun instead of a chore. I also have a passion for hospitality and as a child always wanted to own and run my own B&B or restaurant - linked with my passion for cooking. Genealogy is another love of mine but I do not think I could ever make it into a career as my passion is in my own family story, but have considered how I could make a living from genealogy. I also have a passion for travelling and working in the 3rd world . . . but these dreams seem a way away at the moment, but who knows what the future will bring whether I'll be a one career woman or later a full time mum or will I have many careers? 

I do not know but I do feel as if the world is my oyster and I can dream, be driven and motivated to reach my goals and potentials, to make the most of my life and enjoy it!!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 63 - Addresses & Locations

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 63 - Addresses & Locations

I am going to recall 2 addresses and locations from my childhood.

My childhood home
The first is a town called Bacup,  and the house there in which is where I grew up. I lived there the whole of my childhood and we had great next door neighbours on both sides.

On one side there was an elderly lady who was so agile even into her 90s. She was called Mrs R and was a surrogate grandparent to me in many ways. We would help with small jobs around the house and garden, like changing light bulbs and cutting the lawn. She was quite deaf so we could sometimes hear what she was watching on the TV through the wall and we had to knock on the living room window and wave at her to get her attention. She would invite me in for a cuppa and we would have a chat. She used to drive an automatic VW Polo which she would get around everywhere right up to her sad departing from this world. The houses were 3 bedroom semi's with large gardens on a steep slope and we were adjoining her house. 

On the other side across the gap between the houses there was another family with children similarly aged to myself and my brother. We would play out with them quite a lot, we got up to all sorts of mischief with them! Climbing trees, building tree houses, playing sardines, hide & seek, cricket, football, making secret societies with passwords and being out on our bikes. It was a wonderful, safe place to play together, to get dirty and enjoy childhood.

There were not many houses on the street and most of the neighbours were very friendly, it was a nice quiet place to live with good scenery, not far from the moorlands to go out walking across. There was a newspaper shop, post office and Chinese take away all a five minute walk from the house. I would go and collect my dads paper during the school holidays or run errands to the Chinese or post-office.

The second place is a street in the town of Horsforth, where my maternal grandparents lived. We spent some time in our school holidays there as well as other days and weekends throughout the year.

Again my grandparents lived in 3 bedroomed semi, very much like my own parents house.

I knew my grandparents neighbours fairly well, across the gap there was a couple who my grandparents got along with really well. They would pay each others window cleaner and milk man and do errands and chores for one another. In my grandparents later life they cared for them and did much more for them than would be expected of neighbours.

The adjoining house was a family with 2 children a little younger than myself and brother who we would occasionally play with when we went to visit.

Walking down the hill to the main road from my grandparents house and across the road was St George's playing fields where Grandma would send us with Grandad to play football and cricket. We would also regularly visit Horsforth Hall Park, the playground and the Japanese gardens. I have many good memories there.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 62 - Is Blood Thicker Than Water?

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 62 - Is Blood Thicker Than Water?

Blood Doesn't Grow On Trees

Who is our "family"?
Does our "blood family" come first?
Who are our "good friends"?

To me family is anyone who is a good friend, as well as blood family who I have done "life" with. Family is an important concept to me. I have not always fully seen eye to eye with all my blood relations but I have remained in contact with them all and enjoy seeing them semi-regularly. I would always make the space to see my blood relatives too, despite our differences there is something strong in a blood-link relationship, which I cannot quite explain and my relatives are important to me. 

Some members of my family
As I have researched my family tree and visited graves or ancestral homes I would regularly get a deja-vu feeling, as if something was drawing me there - is this part of the blood link, the memories of the generations gone by whom I share part of my DNA with?

I also have a great church family around me in the community in which I live, these are people who I see on a regular basis throughout my week and share my every day "life" with - the up's and the down's. 

I have great friends who I have spent parts of my "life" with in the past, who I can pick up totally where we last left off and enjoy spending time together. These friends are also part of my family. For example, a good school friend who I have kept in contact regularly with, my gap year team mates who I lived with for a year, my university friends who we lived in one another's houses together, etc.

A good friend who I would class as family is a friend who I have shared "life" with to a deeper level, than an acquaintance. They are people I trust, love and cherish with my high's and my low's and who share their lives with me too.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 61 - How Do You Measure Success?

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 61 - How Do You Measure Success?

Success: noun 
  1. the accomplishment of one's goals
  2. the attainment of wealth, position, honours or the like
  3. a performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honours
  4. a person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc.

I am finding this prompt quite a hard one to write, I guess a lot about success is tied up in pride and how confident you feel about yourself, which also makes one quite vulnerable in talking about what I feel has been successful in my own personal life.

I guess for me success is not about having a high flying career and making myself rich and famous or having materialistic things, but for me success in life is about how happy I feel and knowing my family are happy and well cared for. 

I think we can have our own goals, dreams and aspirations for life but it can take time, even a lifetime to achieve these goals. Can we measure success if we're still on that road to achieving these dreams? We can put ourselves down as we're struggling to reach the goals we set ourselves. We can compare ourselves to others. But in my eyes success is about how you feel about your own achievements in the challenges we have overcome in life and how one has fought those battles and come through the other side.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Horsforth Cemetery

A few weeks ago I ventured to Horsforth Cemetery for the afternoon to do some more grave hunting. I had been there before a few times but each time I had managed to miss finding my great grandparents grave, so went back to take some more photos and to find the elusive grave.

The first grave I found was that of my great, great grandfather's brother, Joshua Thompson, his wife, Miriam, daughter Mary Kneeshaw and son-in-law, Reginald Fairleigh Kneeshaw.

Grave of Joshua & Miriam Thompson nee Roberts, Reginald Fairleigh & Mary Kneeshaw nee Thompson

Grave of Joshua & Miriam Thompson nee Roberts, Reginald Fairleigh & Mary Kneeshaw nee Thompson

The second grave I came across was that of Harold & Louisa Meeks, one of the past owners of Meek's Greengrocers on Town Street in Horsforth. A family run business which opened in the early 1880s by George Meeks, Harold's father and finally closed it's doors in the early 1990s, when Harold's great grandson was running the shop. My father did part-time work for David Speight, the son of Ethel nee Meeks in the 1970s in the shop. Although Harold & Louisa are not direct ancestors of mine, their daughter, Ethel married Harold Speight whose mother was Ethel nee Thompson the sister of Joshua above.

Grave of Harold Meeks and Louisa nee Hibbett

"In Loving Memory
died 18th July 1941 aged 65 years
Also Louisa wife of the above
died 27th January 1965 aged 81 years"

Now for the graves of my more direct ancestors, my great grandparents...

...Walter & Kate Davidson nee Parkinson, my great grandparents...

Grave of Walter & Kate Davidson

of a dearly loved
father and mother
died 21st July 1969
died 23rd October 1970 
aged 78 years" 

...and the elusive grave of Harold and Alice Poole nee Thompson and Harold's mother, my great, great grandmother, Grace Ellen Poole nee Binns...

Grave of Grace Ellen Poole nee Binns, Harold Poole & Alice nee Thompson

Memory of
died 31st July 1917 aged 47
son of the above
died 4th February 1954 aged 59
also ALICE
dear wife of the above
died 12th October 1973 aged 78"

Monday, 10 November 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 60 - Family Traits

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 60 - Family Traits

There are many family traits which I exhibit and probably many that I am unaware of:
Chocolate cupcake
  • my love of food and cooking was passed from my grandmothers and my own mother - we are all great cooks and have enjoyed cooking and feeding the family, hence why I write a regular FOODY FRIDAY blog post on my other blog These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things.
  • I am told that I have the Davidson nose and wire hair so these must be a genetic traits passed down the Davidson family line.
  • my love of family history was inspired by grandmother who loved reflecting about all her extended family members, is this a family trait to have a love of family and social history relating to the family?
  • again I am told that I have characteristics of both my parents in me.
  • my love of Yorkshire must be a family trait as most of my family down the lines were from Yorkshire although I was actually born and brought up in Lancashire. I moved back to Yorkshire when I came to university and have lived here ever since.
  • I look just like my mum did at my age, it's like looking at me when I see photos of her of this age.

Friday, 7 November 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 59 - Task Reflections

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 59 - Task Reflections

Ok, so these are the tasks I have undertaken today with the comparison of what I expect my grandparents perhaps had to go through when they were my age:

  • Changed numerous nappies - I use both reusable and disposable nappies, reusables are great when we're about the house as they save us a bit of money but they can be taken off, the solid waste is flushed down the loo with the bamboo nappy liner and go straight in the nappy bin beside the washing machine. The reusable nappies are bottom shaped and have a waterproof liner and fasten together with popper buttons. The disposables are better when we're out and about or when I'm feeling a little lazy as they come straight out of the packet and the dirty one goes straight in the bin. The disposable nappies are waterproof and there are crystals which soak up the liquid waste, they fasten with velcro. I use baby wipes to clean my baby's bottom and put sudocrem on to reduce the nappy rash.
  • All nappies would have been cloth nappies when my grandparents changed my parents nappies, they would be fastened with safety pins and would probably have been a square of cloth which had to the folded correctly to fit the baby. The nappies would all have to have been washed and I suspect the bottom would have been wiped with a flannel or something similar, possibly dry or dipped in water. The flannel would also have to have been regularly washed. Possibly even hand washed daily.

  • Used the toilet and shower in my warm bathroom inside the house.
  • My grandmother used to talk of having to go the back yard to use the lavatory and a wash in the tin bath once a week in front of the fire and in front of the rest of the family, with limited privacy.

  • Make a bottle of formula up - includes sterilising the bottles in the microwave steriliser, boiling the kettle, leave to cool for a few minutes, measure out the required amount using the measuring scale on the side and then add the required number of spoons of the formula milk from the tin and leave to cool stood in some cold water from the tap.
  • Sterilising bottles would be an arduous task with Milton or boiling them. Formula milk was available from the early 20th Century but was not as good for the baby as it is today and the baby may have been given cows milk from a younger age instead. Boiling water would have been in a kettle over the hob, rather than an electric one.

  • Make breakfast - take cardboard box of cereal from the cupboard with the plastic wrapping inside containing the cereal to keep it fresh. Pour the soya milk over the cereal from the carton in the fridge bought at the supermarket a week before. Place a slice of bread made by the bread maker the previous day in the toaster and spread on chocolate spread from the jar in the cupboard. Make a cuppa tea using the kettle to boil the water and a teabag from the tin.
  • Limited food was probably stored, it would have been purchased that same morning and I doubt they had much cereal for breakfast, possibly porridge or bread or even a good hearty cooked breakfast. There was limited use of plastic bags for keeping foods fresh, even bread and milk would have been bought or delivered that morning before breakfast. If the bread was made at home it would have been handmade which takes a lot of time and physical exertion to knead the dough and allow it to rise before being baked. Dry bread from the previous day may have been toasted over the hob or in the fire. Water would be boiled in a pan or kettle over a gas hob probably.

  • Caught up with a few bits of finances on my laptop, checked Facebook and my emails from the comfort of my sofa in my house warmed with the central heating on.
  • No resources such as laptops or internet to do work, pen and paper in front of the open fire range. You cannot check bank accounts from home, you would have cash somewhere in the house and a bank account book which showed the balance. You would have to go into town to withdraw money or put money into the bank. You would find out what people were doing today by walking down the street and talking to people. 

  • Went into town for a few bits and met some friends - drove to town in the car as it was raining heavily, put our coats on, got the baby in the car seat, put the pram & plastic rain cover in the boot of the car, parked outside the shop and ran into the warmth of the shop with the baby in the pram.
  • My grandmother used to either go to the village shop for provisions or wait for the grocers or butchers van to visit the village. They would not drive but walk everywhere or if they needed something from the larger town it might involve a bus ride. In the rain everything would get pretty wet, waterproof covers and coats were probably limited. 

  • Got home from town & as I was wet changed into some dry clothes and put the central heating on to dry my wet clothes and shoes.
  • Wet clothes would be dried on a rack in front of the fire. Instead of going to get another change of clothes, they may have put the same clothes back on once they had dried off a bit. It would take the clothes longer to dry.

  • Had lunch - made sandwiches with bread from the bread bin, cheese in a plastic resealable bag & butter in the glass butter holder both kept in the fridge.
  • Making a sandwich is one of the tasks that probably hasn't changed drastically over the centuries but food to be kept cool would be in the larder rather than the fridge. Cheese and butter would be bought from the supermarket in smaller quantities more frequently.

  • Text my husband to see what time he might get home from work.
  • There was no way of communicating with your husband until he got in from work.

  • Talked to my brother in Germany on WhatsApp on my mobile phone.
  • Talking to my brother in the next county would have involved lots of letter writing with pen and paper, with a slow postal system it would take weeks on end to get replies. Cross country letter delivery would be incredibly slow in comparison to being able to talk to my brother instantly for free.

  • Enjoyed left-over stew from yesterday for our tea. It had been cooked in the slow cooker yesterday in a large quantity to freeze and reheat. It was reheated in the microwave.
  • Meals were not cooked in large quantity as people may not have been able to afford to buy large quantities in one go and there would not have been the option for long term storage in the freezer, it would need to have been eaten the same day. There was no microwave to reheat anything it would have been in the oven, stove or on the hob.

  • The dishes were all put in the dishwasher with the breakfast and lunch pots and it was put on to wash the dishes from the whole day.
  • Washing up would be done after each meal, to have enough crockery to eat the next meal with. The water would have to be boiled in the kettle on the hob to get hot water immediately.

  • Put the baby to bed in their cot in their own bedroom, using the lullaby tune on the baby monitor to aid the baby to sleep.
  • You would have to listen out for the baby. My grandparents may have even shared their beds with their parents, or the baby was put to sleep in the pram, the baby may not have had a cot.

  • Sat downstairs in the living room, writing this blog on my laptop, listening to Katherine Jenkins music on Spotify, with the baby monitor next to me in case the baby wakes and cries, so I can go and comfort them.
  • There would certainly have been no blogging perhaps one may have kept a diary with paper and pen, but would it have been read by people from all across the world - probably not, only if published as a book. Listening to music in my grandparents day would be either gramophone if one was available, radio or in house entertainment with the piano or other instruments which were available.